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Ireland U20s make light work of Samoa to quash relegation fears

The victory sees Peter Malone’s side advance to Sunday’s ninth-place play-off.

Ireland U20 lock Fineen Wycherley touches down.
Ireland U20 lock Fineen Wycherley touches down.
Image: Levan Verdzeuli/INPHO

Ireland U20 52 Samoa U20 26

IRELAND’S U20s HAVE given themselves a chance to finish their disappointing World Championship campaign on a high with a convincing victory against Samoa in Tbilisi, Georgia.

After three losses from three group games, Peter Malone’s charges were under pressure to stop the rot and they did just that to advance to the ninth/10th-place play-off, and end any fears of relegation from next year’s competition.

The depleted Irish side, who had an injury list stretching 17 names long heading into today’s game, always looked in control against Samoa once hooker Ronan Kelleher crossed the Samoan line with just four minutes on the clock.

It was the first of four first-half Irish tries in the 25-degree Georgian sun, all coming from the pack.

Further efforts from tighthead Peter Cooper, and locks Fineen Wycherley and Oisin Dowling — as well as three conversions from out-half Conor Dean — helped Ireland to a 26-5 interval lead.

Munster wing Calvin Nash then touched down for an excellent score just after the restart to banish any hopes of a Samoa comeback.

Ireland lost Dowling to a yellow card on 54 minutes and while Samoa got over the whitewash just three minutes later, Malone’s side responded via converted scores from Kelleher and inside centre Ciaran Frawley.

While Samoa grabbed a couple of consolation scores late on, it had already been a successful afternoon for Ireland’s U20s.

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Their final assignment at this year’s tournament will be Sunday’s ninth/10th-place play-off against the victors of this afternoon’s clash between the hosts and Argentina. Samoa will play the losers of that fixture in a relegation play-off.

Ciaran Frawley Ireland centre Ciaran Frawley. Source: Lasha Kuprashvili/INPHO

Ireland scorers:Tries: Cooper, Dowling, Kelleher (2), Nash, Wycherley, Frawley, Doris.
Conversions: Dean (6).
Samoa scorers:Tries: Solipo, Enoka, Ah See, Ielemia
Conversions: 
Ene (3)

IRELAND U20: 15. Alan Tynan; 14. Michael Silvester (Dublin University/Leinster, 13. Gavin Mullin (UCD/ Leinster) (David McCarthy, 12. Ciaran Frawley (UCD/ Leinster), 11. Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster); 10. Conor Dean (St. Mary’s/ Leinster), 9. Jack Stafford (Shannon/ Munster); 1. Jordan Duggan (Naas/Leinster), 2. Ronan Kelleher (UCD/ Leinster), 3. Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); 4. Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster/ Munster), 5. Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster); 6. Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/ Munster), 7. Paul Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster) (7) (c), 8. Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).

Replacements: 16. Adam Moloney (Shannon/Munster), 17. Joey Conway (UL Bohs/Munster), 18. Charlie Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster), 19. Jack Regan (UCD/ Leinster), 20. John Foley (Shannon/Munster), 21. Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/ Ulster), 22. David McCarthy (Garryowen/Munster), 23. Mark Keane (Instonians/Ulster).

SAMOA U20: 15. Ricky Ene (Iva Fa’asaleleaga); 14. Darren Kellet Moore (Ponsonby), 13. Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland Marist), 12. Kerrod Foaese (Marist St Pat’s), 11. Alexander Pohla (Manly); 10. Tagaloa Fonoti (Vaiala); 9. Howard Tagoai (Lepa/Fasitoo Uta); 1. Setu Enoka (Marist), 2. Noel Sanft (Letava) (capt), 3. Afioga Ielemia (Grammar Tech Auckland); 4. Theodore Solipo (Patumahoe Counties Manukau), 5. Julius Togafau (Marist Pakuranga), 6. Francis Ah Him (Marist), 7. Caleb Faalili (Papatoetoe Club), 8. Sione Tuipulotu (Ardmore Marist).

Replacements: 16. Petelo Ikenasio (Manurewa), 17. Suetena Asomua (Counties Manukau), 18. Frank Tupuola (Marist), 19. Shammah-Anthony Solomona (Marist Hamilton), 20. Peato Toeafe (Taga), 21. Wyatt Setu (Queensland University), 22. Pupi Ah See (Fasitoo Uta), 23. Godinet Tinei (Waitemata Auckland).

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